Green Star Awards 2017 – Recognising the Pioneers of a Sustainable Future

Green Cross International (GCI) sends their regards to Maestros Leadership Co. (Malawi), Cooperación Comunitaria (Mexico) and PAX (Netherlands), winners of the 2017 Green Star Awards held last September in Nairobi, Kenya. These three organisations were recognised for their efforts in integrating environmental and humanitarian action, as well as their commitment toward the prevention, preparedness and response to environmental crisis.

The ceremony was hosted by a 3-person jury that included a representative for each of the organisations at the heart of this initiative: Mubarick Masawudu, GCI Board Member, and President of Green Cross Ghana, Rudolph Muller, Director of OCHA in Geneva, and Mette Wilkie, UN Environment Director of Division for Ecosystems.

There were over 50 nominated individuals and organisations for the three award categories: prevention and preparedness, response, and environment and humanitarian action.

In the category of Prevention and Preparedness, Maestros Leadership Co. was recognised for their outstanding work through their MaGREEN project, which was launched in response to torrential rains in Malawi in 2015. Through the project, over 5,000 trees were planted in Malawi’s flood-prone areas covering 20,000 square meters, and over 500 youth were trained to campaign for climate action. Accepting the award on behalf of Maestros Leadership Co., CEO Charles Lipenga remarked, “Effective leaders are in short supply and empowering the youth is the surest way to increase it for an inevitable future transformation.”

The Green Star Award for Response was presented to Wim Zwijnenburg, PAX Project Leader. The organisation was recognised for its professionalism and leadership in the protection of civilians during war and armed conflicts, and its commitment to building peace with justice. “PAX is humbled by winning the Green Star Award and we aim to contribute further to demonstrating the link between conflict, environmental impact and pollution”, said Zwijnenburg. The organisation promotes local peace initiatives in 15 countries, building better humanitarian responses to those communities affected by toxic remnants of war.

In the category Environment and Humanitarian Action, the Mexican organisation Cooperación Comunitaria was recognised for their efforts in reconstructing communities following the devastating hurricanes and landslides in the mountainous region of the Guerrero State in 2013. The organisation supported the building of two community centres, reinforced 48 adobe homes, created five community maps of risk, and provided trainings to locals and leaders. Accepting the award, Director of Cooperación Comunitaria, Isadora Hastings Garcia, quoted the indigenous tradition El Buen Vivir, “there is not a dichotomy between human and nature, we all are nature, we all come from Mother Earth.”

The Green Star Awards, a collaborative effort between Green Cross International, UN Environment and OCHA is a biennial event, now in its fifth edition. This year, it served as an introduction to the 2017 Environment and Emergencies Forum, a biennial event organised by the Joint Unit of UN Environment and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Read more about the Green Star Awards

Read the official 2017 Green Star Awards press release

Watch the profile videos of the winning organisations below:

Maestros Leadership Team (Malawi)

PAX (The Netherlands)

Cooperación Comunitaria (Mexico)